Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Barley pilaf

I love barley like really love barley, I think it may be my favorite grain. It holds its texture and doesn't end up as mush.  I had a hard time finding it initially when I moved to Charlotte but have discovered an awesome healthy food store where I can buy it.  This recipe is super easy and cooks up creamy and delicious without the addition of any butter or cream. This is a great side dish or can be turned into a main dish by throwing a protein on top - I added some shrimp this evening.


  • Roughly 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms - I think I may add extra next time but I love mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic - minced
  • Roughly 2 tbsp chopped green onions (scallions)
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp crushed dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste - be careful salting initially as you will be adding the parm at the end
1.  Saute mushrooms, garlic, and onions in a tbsp or 2 of broth until soft.
2.  Add rest of broth, barley, and rosemary. 
3. Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 35-45 minutes until the broth is absorbed and the barley is soft.
4.  When finished stir in Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. 

Carrot ginger soup

I love this website and get many of my recipes from here.  This soup is super cheap, easy, and tasty and for the most part I didn't make many changes from the original.


  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter 
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups low sodium fat-free vegetable broth - I only had chicken broth on hand and it still turned out great
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger - I used the big side of the grater and it worked great
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream - I added this but really don't think it's necessary and will prob leave it out next time
  • salt and white pepper to taste

1.  Melt butter in large saucepan or dutch oven and saute onions and garlic until soft.  If you are looking to reduce calories you can saute them in a little broth instead.
2. Add broth, carrots, and ginger and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft, about 20-30 minutes.
3. Add sour cream, if desired, and then blend soup with immersion blend or transfer to blender if necessary.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Veggie bean tacos

I got this recipe from my friend Pam's blog and it is really delicious and super healthy.  It is also easy to customize to whatever veggies you have in your fridge.  This recipe makes a lot probably around 20 tortillas or maybe even more.  I froze some of the mixture.

1 onion - chopped
1/2 bell pepper (whichever color you like best) - chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 green squash
1/2 yellow squash
1 1/2 c shredded cabbage
1/2 c spinach - chopped
4-5 mushrooms - sliced
1 can black beans - drained and rinsed
1 can refried beans
1/2 TBS cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c cooked rice
corn tortillas

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onions, garlic, and colored pepper till slightly soft.
2. Add all of the rest of veggies, salt, and pepper,  and cook until al dente.
3. Add both kinds of beans and stir until well incorporated, add cumin to taste.  I like cumin alot so I probably added even more than 1/2 TBS.  The recipe called to also add the rice, but I didn't do this because I knew I was going to freeze some of the mixture and rice freezes weird.
4.  Place tortillas in microwave with a wet paper towel to soften them.  If they aren't softened enough they will split when you try to roll them.
5.  Place scoop a bean mixture and scoop of rice inside each tortilla and roll, place seam side down in baking dish.  Spray lightly with cooking spray and bake for 10-15 minutes until everything is heated through. I broiled them for the last few minutes to get the tortillas nice and crispy.
6.  Top with salsa, a little queso fresco, and cilantro.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

100% whole wheat pizza dough

If you love pizza as much as I do this recipe makes it easy to get some more whole grains in your life.  It is surprisingly light for a 100% whole wheat anything.  The key is that this should be a thin crust pizza, if you make it thick it will most likely not be as good.  Kevin even liked it and he is not a whole wheat fan normally.

2 1/2 c 100% whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp dry yeast (one packet)
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 TBS oil
1 cup warm water

1.  Combine the yeast, sugar, and water.  Let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Once yeast is activated add salt and oil, then gradually mix in flour with a wooden spoon.  If you have a dough hook you could use your mixer to do this and the next step for you.
3.  Once dough is combined place out on counter and knead.  The dough is a little stickier than white flour dough.  Gradually add more flour until it is easy to knead.  Knead for 2-4 minutes and then place in a well greased bowl and cover.
4.  Let raise for at least an hour in a warm place until it is doubled in size.
5.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Roll out dough, I made two pizzas from this dough, place your favorite toppings on and bake for 15 minutes.
6.  When done let sit for 5-10 minutes then serve.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Eggplant rolotini

This is pretty easy and doesn't take too much time to put together and it is delicious.  It doesn't even really taste like eggplant it is more like noodles just better for you.  I thought that the cottage cheese would be weird but once pureed it has the same consistency as ricotta and is probably better for you.  You can always add more veggies to this.  I sauteed some squash and mushrooms and put them into my sauce.  I think that spinach would be delicious added into the inside of the rolotini.  This made about 3 servings for me.

1 eggplant - cut into 1/4 inch thick slices - this is easiest to do with a mandolin if you have one
2/3 c cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c basil - minced
1/4 c parmesan
1 clove garlic - minced
1 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 c spaghetti sauce depending on how saucy you like things

1. Set water to boil in a large pot.
2.  While waiting for water to boil, puree cottage cheese, basil, garlic, and lemon zest.  When smooth, in a medium bowl stir in parmesan, salt and pepper, and 1/3 c mozzarella cheese.
3. Remove the stems from the eggplant and slice into 1/4 inch slices, I think I got about 10 out of mine.  It is important these are not thicker than 1/4 inch because then they will not roll well.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
5.  Blanch eggplant slices in  boiling water for 2-3 minutes, making sure to stir them around, until they are pliable and tender. When done transfer to paper towel lined cookie sheet and dry thoroughly.
6.  Cover the bottom of an 8x8 dish with a thin layer of sauce.
7.  Spread a heaping TBS of cheese mixture onto each slice of eggplant, roll starting from the narrow end.  Place seam side down and pack tightly with other rolls in a single layer.
8. Cover rolls with remaining sauce, I like things saucy so I had a good bit but it depends on your tastes you can put less on and then serve extra on the side. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbly, 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Black bean hummus

This recipe is really easy to throw together, delicious, and super healthy especially if eaten with some veggies.

1 cup canned black beans - drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove minced - roasting the garlic would most likely add some extra deliciousness
1 TBS olive oil
1 1/2 TBS lemon juice - I've used lime since that is what I normally have and it works well
1 TBS white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

*Depending how tangy you want your hummus you can either increase or decrease the lemon juice and vinegar.  I reduced it slightly from the original recipe.  I also decreased the amount of olive oil by half from the original because I didn't feel like 2 TBS was necessary.

Monday, July 30, 2012

cracked bulgur wheat

I've recently discovered bulgur and it is delicious.  You can get bulgur in a variety of sizes, smaller ones are typically for use in deserts while larger bulgur is more similar to couscous in size  Christina gave me a rice cooker for my birthday so I now try to cook most things in there.  It really makes life easier.

1 c bulgur
2 c chicken broth or water
pat of butter
salt and pepper

You could saute some garlic and onions to throw in but I'm lazy.

1. Place all ingredients into rice cooker and switch to on side.
2. Check your bulgur after about 10 minutes. My bulgur was done before the rice cooker switched to warm.
3. When it was about done, I unplugged my rice cooker and just left the lid on for about 10-15 minutes, but that was just because I wasn't ready to eat yet and it was delicious.  I'm not sure if it made any difference or not.